HCC: ‘Enjoy our country parks during the outbreak’

- but please don't drive there. Council keep parks open but car parks closed following busy weekend.

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Victoria Country Park, Netley pic HCC

Hampshire County Council are encouraging residents to continue enjoying outdoor spaces but have warned them not to drive to them as the car parks have been closed to discourage visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The council also advise that residents still keen on enjoying the great outdoors should be careful to keep a safe distance from others so as not to further risk spreading the potentially fatal disease.

The decision to close car parks at local beauty spots reverses a previous decision made last Friday when the council announced they were lifting all parking charges- but the policy change followed a busy weekend which saw hundreds of people descend on the parks to enjoy the spring weather.

The County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Seán Woodward, explained:

“Hampshire has an enviable mix of outdoor spaces, including over 750 miles of off-road cycle routes and urban cycle paths, and 3,000 miles of rights of way, for all ages and abilities. For those residents keen to get some fresh air, we ask that they carefully follow the social distancing guidelines – a critical measure being keeping two metres apart from others.

“Given the large numbers of visitors we saw at our country parks over the weekend, and following Government advice, we are now making further changes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of visitors and staff during the pandemic.

“Alongside the social distancing, our country parks, walks and open spaces remain open to local visitors but all on-site parking and facilities (including the play areas and toilets) are now closed until further notice.

“We are also asking visitors not to drive to our parks as there is no parking on site.

“We thank everyone for their understanding.”

HCC advise regular users to follow the social media channels of their local countryside site to stay up to date with the latest developments and that existing parking passes and memberships will be extended for the length of time the closures are in place.

For more details on the national guidance, go to the County Council’s Coronavirus web pages.